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Dinosaurs

Analysis and Comment (28)

Evolution is still the favoured theory, according to fossil records. Flickr/Brent Danley

Life on Earth still favours evolution over creationism

Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, first published in 1859, offered a bold new explanation for how animals and plants diversified and still serves as the foundation underpinning all medical and biological…
A 9-metre-long early relative of T rex that stalked the Early Cretaceous of northern China was the first truly terrifying feathered dinosaur discovered. Brian Choo

Book review: Flying Dinosaurs – How fearsome reptiles became birds

While a week can be a long time in politics, palaeontology typically moves more sedately, in keeping with its subject matter (the slow progression of the aeons). But one area of fossil research is seeing…
A flock of early birds (Longirostravis) preen one of their large dinosaurian relatives (Yutyrannus). Brian Choo

How small birds evolved from giant meat eating dinosaurs

Spectacular transitional fossils, many from northern China, provide overwhelming evidence that dinosaurs evolved into birds and thus didn’t all perish when the deadly meteorite struck at the end of the…
Good times, bad times, you know I had my share. epsos

Found: the dinosaur that survived mass extinction

A dinosaur has been found in Argentina which may have lasted beyond an extinction event that wiped out the rest of its family. The new species has been named Leinkupal laticauda, which in the language…
Can you smell what the dino is cookin'? eschipul

Chemical ghosts of dinosaurs may help reveal new secrets

Life as we know it is carbon-based, that is, organic. These organic molecules containing mostly carbon and hydrogen are delicate to the ravages of time, relatively speaking. They aren’t usually preserved…
Another mass extinction? Bring it on! boogeyman13

How mass extinctions drove the evolution of dinosaurs

For 20 privileged Victorians, Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins held a lavish New Year’s dinner party in 1853 inside a model of a dinosaur that was created for the Great Exhibition held two years earlier. Hawkins’s…
Sauropods were huge animals, but why were they so massive - and did they really hold their necks like this? Mark Witton

Necks question … how did the biggest dinosaurs get so big?

Alongside Tyrannosaurus rex, the basic sauropod dinosaur is one of the most iconic and instantly recognisable of prehistoric animals. Not only is their elegant shape with four columnar limbs, a long muscular…
The prevailing picture of dinosaurs as dull, lumbering creatures may be wrong. FlickrDelusions

Some dinosaurs were birdbrains (and that’s a good thing)

Birds are some of the brainiest creatures on earth, while their direct ancestors - the dinosaurs - are often stereotyped as dull and doomed. But a new study published today in Nature challenges this notion…
Debate continues over how dinosaurs did the deed. Miroslav Petrasko (blog.hdrshooter.net)

Big bang theory: how did dinosaurs have sex?

Dinosaurs were the largest animals to ever walk Earth, and they ruled the planet for more than 160 million years. The long-necked Argentinosaurus, with back vertebrae almost two metres high, possibly grew…
Reconstruction of Aurornis xui, a new basal avialan theropod from the Middle/Late Jurassic of China. Masato Hattori

Cheep thrills: new dinobird puts Archaeopteryx back on its perch

A new feathered fossil, Aurornis – introduced in today’s Nature – has the potential to resolve a debate about bird evolution that’s had evolutionary biologists in a bit of a flap in recent years. The origin…
Soon after revealing his plans to build a replica Titanic, Clive Palmer has set his sights on becoming Australian Prime Minister. EPA/Jason Szenes

Titanic ambitions: Palmer’s federal push shouldn’t be lightly dismissed

Queensland has a habit of raising the eyebrows of our southern cousins when it comes to politics “our way”. Visits to friends and family down south always have required explanations about Joh Bjelke-Petersen…
Semitransparent flesh reconstruction of an embryonic dinosaur inside an egg, with skeleton shown. D Mazierski

Dinosaur Jr: raising 200-million-year-old embryos

We should forget about ever finding something as small and delicate as a dinosaur embryo, right? A few months ago I would have agreed – but now, well, things have changed. When my colleague, palaeontologist…
The giant river lizard Pannoniasaurus inexpectus (top) was roughly six metres long. In life, the animal would have resembled the smaller, related Aigialosaurus (bottom). FunkMonk/Wikimedia Commons

‘Aquatic Komodo dragon’ was the ultimate river monster

An aquatic lizard twice the length of a Komodo dragon once lurked in rivers during the age of dinosaurs, according to a team of Hungarian-Canadian researchers. The 85 million-year-old Pannoniasaurus is…
A 240 million-year-old dinosaur was the size of a golden retriever with a very long tail. Natural History Museum Mark Witton

Dog-sized reptile extends the dinosaur age by 10 million years

Before this week, palaeontologists believed the earliest known dinosaurs were small bipedal creatures that lived 230 million years ago in South America. This “oldest known dinosaur” floor proved quite…
Since the early 20th century, there have been claims that dinosaurs were warm-blooded. Bharath Kishore

Hot fuss: is warm-blooded dinosaur theory right or wrong?

Mark Twain reputedly said it wasn’t what he didn’t know that bothered him, but what he knew that wasn’t true. A recent contribution on dinosaur physiology in Nature, by palaeontologist Meike Köhler and…
Cows' methane emissions can be measured with lasers, but it’s not that easy to measure emissions from an extinct sauropod. Mark Witton

How do you make a dinosaur burp in a bag? Measuring prehistoric methane

Last week my colleagues and I published a paper showing how methane emitted by dinosaurs could have affected the world’s climate. The media response was huge, with 100+ interviews by email and phone, and…
Artist’s impression of an individual Yutyrannus. Dr Brian Choo

Dinosaurs of a feather: meet T-Rex’s fluffy cousin

It’s taken a century of debate, but in the past two decades we’re finally understanding where birds came from. Now, with a new study published in the journal Nature, Chinese and Canadian researchers have…
Yutyrannus huali is the largest known feathered animal, living or extinct. Artist's impression: Dr Brian Choo

Relative of T. Rex was biggest feathered animal ever

A newly discovered species of feathered tyrannosaurus, Yutyrannus huali, grew up to 9 metres in length and weighed about 1400 kg, making it 40 times heavier than the largest previously known feathered…
Our “first” feathered friend no longer has the wind beneath its wings. Xing Lida and Liu Yi

Move over Archaeopteryx – an earlier bird caught the worm

As little as 15 years ago, the boundary between birds and dinosaurs was a fairly sharp one. On one side was Archaeopteryx, a 150 million-year-old magpie-sized creature from Bavaria, southern Germany, long…

Research and News (8)

Research Briefs (17)

Out-biting the dinosaurs

Researchers from the University of Bristol, The Royal Veterinary College and Duke University have found that ancient crocodile…

Winged dinosaur had iridescent plumage

A team of palaeontologists from across the globe has reconstructed the colour and feather pattern of a winged dinosaur that…

Blame it on the volcanoes

Dinosaurs were probably made extinct by a combination of colossal volcanic eruptions and meteorite strikes, according to…

Ancient turtle survived meteorite

The remains of a turtle that survived the 65 million-year-old meteorite impact that wiped out the dinosaurs have been found…